The New RoadMap - Business as Usual

Mike Rozlog just published a new roadmap for Delphi.  Apparently Delphi XE will be the big announcement at DelphiLive this year, not the preview 64 bit compiler,  or a public beta for Mac OS/X support as I had hoped.

Thew new roadmap mentions lots of Cloud Computing enhancements including Windows Azure and Amazon C2E.  This baffles me, since I know very few developers who are even interested in Cloud Computing, let alone actually writing code for it.  To me, Cloud Computing is still an experiment whose main participants are the big companies who can fund their efforts for a long time until they become profitable, or who make their money from advertising.  Cloud computing also rated 4th on “upcoming technology that would have the greatest impact on the development community at large”.  That was behind Mobile applications, 64 bit computing, and parallel programming.  I think it’s strange that such new technology is being incorporated into the Fulcrum release, when the survey didn’t ask when or if developers were going to target that environment.

What developers are targeting today, and tomorrow is the current Windows platform.  With Windows 7 copies flying off the shelves, you would think EMB would want to maintain it’s position as the best native Windows ADE.  Without 64 bit support it’s going to be difficult, and true 64 bit support will not be available until Project Pulsar is delivered (no timeline is given).  The preview compiler which will be available in 6+ months will not be able to generate Windows GUI applications if I interpret the slides correctly.

While the roadmap indicates that numerous projects are being worked on simultaneously, we’ve been hearing that since the last roadmap, and a year later the result is Delphi XE, now aka Fulcrum.  So far, from what I’ve seen, there is nothing earth shattering in this release.  In fact nothing worth upgrading for, and nothing that is a top priority request from the community or market.  To be fair, the top two items are big ones to deliver (64 bit Windows and Mac OS/X support), but could have been anticipated long ago if EMB had their finger on the market pulse. After a year of waiting it would be nice to at least see some progress, rather than Fulcrum features becoming what’s available in XE, and having everything else pushed back into Pulsar (now you see it now you don’t).

My concern is that resources are being consumed to deliver features to satisfy needs that have already been met, or are not true needs.  Subversion support is a great example of the former, and Cloud Computing the latter.  Why re-invent the wheel when most developers are using other IDE integrations, or Tortoise?  At one time this would have been a great addition, but that time has long since passed.  It still adds some value, but isn’t a priority.

I agree with Mason Wheelers’ latest blog post.  I certainly wasn’t impressed, but I was amused by the subtitle on the first slide “What we are telling customers we are going to go”.  Most excellent english.  It seems like EMB doesn’t understand that the community needs some assurance that a Pulsar release is imminent.  It’s interesting, and at the same time discouraging that EMB is repeating the mistakes Borland made.  Perhaps if you keep the same people, you keep the same company, and it’s just business as usual.

11 Responses to “The New RoadMap - Business as Usual”

  1. Wilfred Oluoch Says:

    “What we are telling customers we are going to go” means that they are not really listening to what customers want - otherwise, they would realize that
    “Windows 7 copies flying off the shelves…” means that is where their focus ought to be - the best Win 7 Native Dev tool with 64-bit support and latest Win7 UI building capabilities, par none.

  2. Paul Says:

    Quite… From the projects described, it only makes sense that Pulsar has to be delivered next.

    Obviously the Mac support is pushed back to that release, but 64bit does not seem to have slipped.

    I totally agree with the messed up priorities over the last few years, a 64 bit Delphi windows compiler should have been in everybodys toolbox years ago… However, remember that it is very distinct groups of people and skills that work on compiler and IDE technologies.

    Obviously for XE, the compiler development hasn’t made this years deadline, so they’ve grabbed a load of productivity code to make a release “worthwhile”. I noted one of Mike Rozlogs comments where I believe he said CodeSite was going to be in XE for example ? A great tool, but they are essentially having to buy in technology to beef up the release… I don’t have a problem with that, if you can’t offer Mac support as expected, you need to have something to offer…

    Next time around though, the technology needs to be their own and needs to be compiler oriented.

  3. Bertrand Person Says:

    I tried to summarize it. This is whatl I understood.

    Pulsar is a 64-bit cross platform compiler.

    Fulcrum is Native, .NET and web application support
    (RadPHP, .NET, ASP.NET and MONO over Prism,
    and 64-bit command-line only compiler,
    projected for 1st half 2011

    Wheelhouse is to extend 64-bit C++ to Mac OSX and Linux

    Commodore is full support.

  4. Torbins Says:

    As I heard somewhere, there were 16 betas in closed beta test. First 10 of them had cross compilation and crossVCL. Latter 6 had primarily bugfixes. And can you guess when happened change of direction?

  5. Michael Thuma Says:

    Howdy!

    Who knows. The term Cloud is defined very sloppy and is used at moment as a buzzword. Beside the aim of the big marketplayers there who imho streamline their reseller structure (MS Aurora, SAP Business By Design, Netsuite, …).

    Cloud is a new business and aspect is to give Micro ISVs the opportunity to quickly ship virtualized boxes without having the need to host. There exist many different views too … I think this the aspect they are focusing on. The rules are not setteled. So it can be an opportunity.

    I think until the middle of this decade for people who rely on the serverside on Delphi hard times will come. Honestly I have a long time ago put together what is required to compete the Java stack or .net. (more the first) is almost impossible in such a short period and this would mean a total change of it’s business. I agree from a just maintenance point of view on the server side for existing developments - you did into the right hole. This does not mean that there is not an opportunity. At the moment the market in Enterprise level custom developments is still driven by recruiters, mainstream technologies,…. no need to attack. Playing the game makes sense in a certain area and no rumor.

    See one thing - in the area of embedded devices and I talk about microprocessor families of Intel more PC of the first days like (you cannot rely on getting a chip in the meanwhile - e.g. MP3 player chip with network capabilites after 6 months) there is a demand for something like Delphi do a fraction of what is requried in the area of PC from its capabilites. With people who still pefer Pascal. This is a lot simpler business than competing Oracle or MS in the area of enterprise apps. There is an evolution on the way in this area.

    Beside Handy games … wait 2 years and the IPAD clones for 50 USD are little more everyone has at home … Then you can make business with a few dollar per game, but without maintenance. New device no reinstall of the old.

  6. Andreas Says:

    I will do nothing. No SA. Nothing. I am happily working with Delphi 7. When full 64 bit support comes out, I am going to buy that version. If that version is bad, I continue working with Delphi 7. Borcadero bothers me since 2003.

  7. PhiS Says:

    “The preview compiler which will be available in 6+ months will not be able to generate Windows GUI applications if I interpret the slides correctly.”
    Well, if it’s a 64-bit compiler, it will be able to _compile_ any Win64 application (GUI or not), you’ll just be out there on your own and mightn’t have all the usual goodies (VCL) there to help you. But really, from the technical side, it should be all you need to get the hard (technical) problems solved. So the fact that this compiler isn’t so far away is IMV really important and a Massively Good Thing.

  8. Alexandre Machado Says:

    “Perhaps if you keep the same people, you keep the same company”. Perfect analysis! Embarcadero development tools division is just Borland with a new name.

  9. Bruce McGee Says:

    @Bertrand,

    Pulsar seems to be 64 bit Delphi for Windows and 32 bit on the Mac.

    Wheelhouse is 64 bit Windows for C++, more 32 bit work for Mac and 32 bit Linux server.

    Commodore is 64 bit on Windows, Mac and Linux.

  10. batmen Says:

    FYI:
    the company that I work for needs:
    - Commodore 64bit
    - Devices support
    - Parallelism programming capability
    - Cloud computing
    - Solid, robust version control (BTW, is the version control code in XE took from TortoiseSVN?)

  11. Bruce McGee Says:

    @batmen,

    “BTW, is the version control code in XE took from TortoiseSVN?”

    Apparently, they used DelphiSVN, at least as a starting point. Kudos to Ondrej Kelle.

    http://www.bitcommander.de/blog/

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